Sunday, December 26, 2010

Color to Read

There's an article in the NY Times summing up the impact that color e-book readers are starting to have. More publishers are putting out more digital versions of illustrated books, especially picture books. Check it out here.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

On Second Thought...

...Picture books aren't quite so dead after all. Merry Christmas! The good news is on Publishers Weekly here.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Wikipedia says, "Vook is a company that publishes digital books that combine video, links to the internet and text into one application available both online and as a mobile application." An explanation and an example are below. Lots of young companies are jumping into the creation of apps and e-books, so let's keep an eye out for what they produce--especially in picture books.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Books Meet Websites

NPR had a story recently called, "Kids Books Make The Leap Off The Page and Online." The article talks especially about the books 39 Clues and The Amanda Project. It's not too hard to imagine that this kind of integration can be ahead for more books of all age levels. "Multi-platform books may not be the future of publishing, but David Levithan, editorial director at Scholastic, says they are part of the future." See where books meet websites here.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Digital Age Webinar

If you missed the webinar, “Children’s Publishing in the Digital Age,” read a good overview here. A sample: "Opinions were mixed on how devices like the iPad and Nook Color might affect the picture book market." That may not settle the issue, but there was good information about where things are headed.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Google E-Books

Google has now introduced an e-bookstore. What does that mean? “This levels the playing field,” said Oren Teicher, the chief executive of the American Booksellers Association. “If you want to buy e-books, you don’t just have to buy them from the big national outlets.” That's important for independent bookstores. Read about it here.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My Birthday

Yes, it was my birthday the other day and we celebrated (one day early) with a train trip to Disneyland. Highlights: riding in the first seats of the front car of the California Screamin' roller coaster (not my video below, but you get the idea), the Winnie the Pooh ride, and eating caramel apples. The "Happy Birthday Author" blog put the spotlight on yours truly. Check it out here.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Today, I'm thinking about "plush."
So who makes the toys that go along with picture books? Find one answer, here at Yottoy.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

How about a trailer?

Saturday, November 27, 2010


So, I'm trying to understand how much of what is going on with digital readers, apps, and e-books in the world of picture books. Maybe you've wondered, too. Here is an article to give some perspective on apps.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Children's Book Festivals

Children's book festivals aim to "promote reading to and by children, benefit libraries, and forge connections between the community and children’s authors and illustrators." That's a paraphrase of the mission statement of the Rochester Children's Book Festival, here, which I hear is great. Here's what they said here, in Sheboygan, "The mission of the Sheboygan Children's Book Festival is to foster a love of reading and inspire young readers, writers, and artists by offering a wide array of dynamic, free public events featuring outstanding children's book creators." Here is one in Connecticut, and across the country, here, in Orange County. How many of these are there? How do they keep the momentum going? What makes them successful? We'll have to look into this some more!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


This is a small part of the book world, but so basic and familiar and useful. And so interesting, I thought. The Library of Congress is such a wonderful institution and place to visit, so it's nice to know more about one of the important jobs they do there. Find out all about those short summaries you've read on the copyright page of books here on the ShelfTalker blog.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Blogcation Time

Today's the day I'm on a blogcation. Lots to do. For other children's book blogs, check here!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sales and Smaller Publishers

Though this article, "Smaller Presses, Bigger Authors" is discussing the adult side of publishing, it's not hard to have some thoughts about how this translates to books for younger readers. Just getting a book published is an achievement, of course, but how well will it sell? That definitely matters when we write and send in the next book. Sales figures are real. So, there are many reasons to think about what we write in terms of "Is this book going to succeed in the marketplace?" and "Is this the right publisher?" Read it here.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Foreign Picture Books

Are picture books from other countries "too foreign?" That's one of the ideas considered in an interesting article, "Outside Over Where?" from the Horn Book here. It was written by Leonard Marcus who gives the historical perspective on picture books from other countries coming to America and the forces that influence international exchanges of books for young children.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Oxenbury and Burningham

Helen Oxenbury and John Burningham have had long careers and individually they have produced many wonderful picture books. Now they have collaborated. An interview is here. An article is here. Check out their house here (and the slide show.) See bunches of books here and here. So many appealing books!

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Let's stay up-to-date and look at the latest in e-book readers. Barnes and Noble has introduced the Nookcolor tablet which you can read about here. Watch their ad here (click on the guided tour button) and the demo of a couple of picture books here. Hmmm. It's another way to read a picture book.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Paul O. Zelinsky

Here's a chance to see Caldecott Medal winner Paul O. Zelinsky give a talk without leaving your own comfortable computer. He spoke at a conference in Chicago, as you'll see in the video that's part of a School Library Journal article here. His website's here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Scholastic Webcast

Scholastic recently did a webcast "Spring 2011 Librarian Preview" to interest librarians in their upcoming list. The archived version is available to watch here. Why watch this long ad? Five Possible Reasons: It shows part of the company's marketing strategy. It gives us a little more understanding of the structure of this large, multi-imprint publisher. We can see some editors, whose names are familiar, on camera. We see some authors on camera, too. It's an example of the ever expanding intersection of technology and books.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Websites for Kids

There are different types of media that target young children. Websites built to appeal to children are an interesting place to look to see what children are encountering. Check out this article here. Notice that it's full of links so you can visit the websites being discussed. It's written from the perspective of the a web designer considering what will intrigue children and hold their interest.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bob Staake

We recently enjoyed listening to Bob Staake talk about his work as an illustrator and writer of picture books. He described how he works quickly and how his style is always evolving. He's an energetic guy who loves his work. Check out his website here and watch him create a character using Photoshop in the video below.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Good Childen's Book

Let's hear from industry veteran Emma Dryden on what attributes make a good children's book. (Now if the following link doesn't work for you, go to Facebook and look up DrydenBks and see the entry for Oct. 7th.) She posted it on Facebook here. Her website is here where she offers freelance editorial services to authors, illustrators, publishers, and agents. The company she worked for until 2009, Atheneum, is here.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What Kid Readers Think

What do kids think of reading? Scholastic wants to know, so they ask kids. In its third national survey, the Kids & Family Reading Report, they get some interesting answers, discussed here. That may be a little heavy, so for dessert have fun watching a promotion video for a French pop-up book.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Picture Books From the Edge

There are a lot of mainstream warm and fun picture books published, of course. But what about those that misfire somehow? Possibly coming off as a little creepy? There are some from yesteryear, some more recent, to check out here. It's a bit silly, I know.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


How about looking at one spot to see a whole bunch of agents who peddle picture books--with links to their sites? It's here. Just looking at all those agencies is enough to make one dizzy. And smarter about the book business.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The CBC's Doings

Let's see what the CBC is up to lately, and what they've got planned for the future. They recently had their annual meeting. Take a look at what they talked about here. The organization's website is here.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Banned Book Week

We're in Banned Book Week! Picture books aren't the most targeted by the book banners, but it certainly does happen. And as book people, banning is an issue for all of us. Check it out on the ALA site here. Read about targeted books here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Some picture books really sell. What makes a hit that sells over 700,000 copies? Let's consider one author's bestsellers here. Check out the list of current bestsellers here. And here's another interesting resource--a podcast called "Chatting About Books." This episode, here (click on the Listen Now button,) is about a reference book called What Should I Read Aloud? A Guide to 200 Bestselling Picture Books. Listen and you'll hear what some moms, and Jane Yolen, have to say.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Making a Ruckus

The changes in the children's digital media world keep popping. There's a new company called Ruckus Media Group "that will specialize in creating high-definition animation apps for children aimed at the mobile computing market." It's employing veteran book people and signing up established authors. It's also mining material from the past. Read about it here.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Toon Up

You may remember when we talked about Toon Books here. They're in the news because they're pairing with Candlewick. Read about it here.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Be Quiet

How about a lovely interview with author Deborah Underwood and her editor Kate O'Sullivan from Houghton Mifflin? It's gonna make you feel good. And it reminds us that sometimes it's good to nourish our minds with things like going to a concert, because those experiences may stimulate our own creativity. Read it on the Imaginary Blog here.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Publishing People

Want to know more about the inside workings of the world of publishing? Read about what today's editors, and others who work in the business, think of the people who mentored them. It's really an interesting view of those who make books get made. Check it out here.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Greetings, Picture Book Partiers. We're always looking out to see who is up to what in publishing PBs, so here's something to know. Charlesbridge Publishing has acquired Imagine Publishing, as you'll see in this article in Publishers Weekly here. Click on the announcement on Charlesbridge's home page here and Imagine's here. There's some more background from last year on Galleycat here. Harold Underdown, on The Purple Crayon commented, "Imagine has a small children's line but a larger adult one, so Charlesbridge is moving into the adult market--not a common step for a children's-only publisher to take." Hmmm!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Bummer, But Beyond

Howdy, again!
Sometimes you just happen upon good things when you're cruising around the internet. I think that author Ellen Jackson has a great article about rejection here. Also check out her lists of editors here. That might come in handy when we're looking to submit a manuscript, don't you think?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Applause for CLAPS

On Reading Rockets, author Candace Fleming gives a formula she uses to show young readers how to build a story. Watch below and see more here. Her website is here.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Library of the Early Mind

Maybe you've seen some clips. Now we can look forward to seeing the whole show. Below is a trailer for this documentary film about children's books. And here is the related blog.

Robert Pinsky Says

Famed poet Robert Pinsky (know more about him here) talks about children's poetry and highlights "three poets whose writing meets those dual ideals of musicality and truthfulness." Read what he has to say here. And you can also enjoy hearing him read some classic poems aloud.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Digital Revolution

Publishers Weekly has an article which takes an overview of the digital children's book world as it stands right now. It helps us understand what's happening here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

What Amazon Said

E-books sales are really increasing! One reason is their flexibility. The New York Times says about the sales on Amazon, "Book buyers who do not own a Kindle can read their Kindle books on a variety of devices, including laptops, iPhones, iPads, BlackBerries and Android phones." Check it out here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

E-book Prices

Hello again!
There's an interesting article from Publishers Weekly on e-book pricing. Check it out here.

Monday, June 7, 2010


The one year anniversary of Picture Book Party is approaching, so it's time for a change. I've been on a strict schedule of writing entries five day a week for almost a year. That's what I committed to do when I started, and it's been interesting work and eye opening for me. I hope you've enjoyed it, too. Starting now, any blogging I may do will be posted by unscheduled whim! Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 4, 2010


It's Book Business Friday.
Apple is making it possible for authors to submit their ebooks to the iBookstore. It's the latest way to self publish. Read about it here and here. The video below shows Steve Jobs of Apple introducing the iBooks app, and iBookstore, back in January.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


It's Real Kids Thursday. Different kids, different boxes--the classic toy.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

John Scieszka

It's Writing Wednesday. John Scieszka has been one of the most visible and successful picture book writers for the last two decades. Want to learn a bit more about him? The brief overview on Wikipedia is here. His website is here. Watch him on Reading Rockets here. Check out his site to promote boys reading here. And lastly, a funny article, by him, about pronouncing tricky names of authors from several years ago in the Horn Book is here. There!

Illustration Skills

It's Illustration Tuesday. One of the schools folks (especially those from the East Coast) go to when they want to be illustrators is the Rhode Island School of Design. As well as degree programs, they also have a continuing education certificate program that includes children's book illustration. It's interesting to see the required courses. It shows what the fundamentals are and what training one should have. Go here and then click on Program Guide For Children's Book Illustration to see. There are courses in basic art skills, digital skills, book illustration, and portfolio preparation/professional practices. Knowing how to use Photoshop is considered a basic skill. Are you up on what you need to know? If you want to improve your skills, perhaps check your own local community college. Wikipedia on Photoshop is here.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Nursery Rhymes

It's Monday, time for Picture Books Past. Nursery rhymes have been the basis for countless picture books since the very early publications of children's material meant for entertainment. Read some background on nursery rhymes here. We all have heard them ourselves as children, and some stay with us, lodged deep in our memories. Look over those you remember, and those you don't, here. Read more and listen, too, here.

Friday, May 28, 2010

BookExpo America

It's Book Business Friday. Time for BookExpo America--it's been happening this week in New York City. If you need a little background on what it is, then look here. To know some of what's happening, check out the website here. Maybe you'd be interested in a podcast or video. Look here. Coverage in Publishers Weekly should be here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


It's Thursday--Real Kids Day. It happens. It happens a lot.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ideas and More Ideas

It's Writing Wednesday. It's not unusual for a writer to include pages on his or her website that are meant to talk to other writers, giving their visitors advice on story making and publication. Rick Walton put together a lot of info like that. He's got tips and ideas for folks from beginners to pros. Check it out here. The more you poke around in his links, the more you find that could be helpful in getting a story started--like here, the "470 Issues in Kids' Lives." Thanks, Rick.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wendell Minor

It's Illustration Tuesday. Today's a good day to meet Wendell Minor. He's a classic realistic illustrator who does quality books, usually with nature themes. He's often paired with writer Jean Craighead George. His website is here. Below, listen to him speak thoughtfully about making a book to foster environmental stewardship in children.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Barbara Cooney

It's Monday--Picture Books Past. Starting in the 1940's, Barbara Cooney was a writer and illustrator of beautiful and beloved picture books. She was a two time winner of the Caldecott Medal. Read briefly about her on Wikipedia here. On the Horn Book site, here, there's an article she wrote about her work. There's also a more extensive Horn Book article about her here. For a great overview of her illustrations, look here and click on the book titles to see the cover of each book.